On Friday night, the world was shocked to learn of Chadwick Boseman’s death from colon cancer — a health issue the actor had kept secret from all but his closest friends and family. The tributes poured in, from fans, from colleagues, from a world stunned to learn they’d lost an actor they assumed they’d be watching for decades to come. Some of those came from his fellow MCU actors, including Danai Gurira, the Walking Dead star who played Wakanda special forces head Okoye in Black Panther.
Alongside pictures of her and Boseman and empty on-set movie set chairs reading “T’Challa” and “Okoye,” Gurira posted a lengthy tribute to the actor with whom he helped make history, starring in the MCU’s first solo effort with a black lead.
“How do you honor a king? Reeling from the loss of my colleague, my friend, my brother. Struggling for words. Nothing feels adequate,” the actress and playwright wrote in her Twitter post. “I always marveled at how special Chadwick was. Such a pure hearted, profoundly generous, regal, fun guy.”
“My entire job as Okoye was to respect and protect a king. Honor his leadership. Chadwick made that job profoundly easy … He was the epitome of kindness, elegance, diligence and grace. On many an occasion I would think how thankful I was that he was the leading man I was working closely with. A true class act. And so perfectly equipped to take on the responsibility of leading the franchise that changed everything for Black representation.”
“He made everyone feel loved, heard and seen. He played great, iconic roles because he possessed inside of himself that connection to greatness to be able to so richly bring them to life. He had a heroic spirit, and marched to the beat of his own drum; hence his excellence as an artist and the incredible courage and determination as he faced life’s challenges; while still guiding us all,” she wrote. “He was zen and sweet and funny (with the very best laugh), attentive, and truly, truly, good. I can’t even wrap my mind around this loss. A loss resonating in my own heart as well as around the globe. The children he inspired, my heart aches for them, to lose their hero just as they finally found him. I am so thankful to have taken the Black Panther journey with him. To have known him, spent time in his light and leadership and to call him forever a friend.”
Gurira — whose play Eclipsed was nominated for five Tonys back in 2015, including one for fellow Black Panther actress Lupita Nyong’o — has played Okoye not only in Black Panther but also in the Avengers entries Infinity War and Endgame.